If you’ve read my previous articles you’ll remember that last time I focused on the idea of establishing an attitude of gratitude. I mentioned that when you look at things, when you choose to be grateful and find things to be glad about – even in a messy work life – things can transform almost like magic.
Well today I want to focus on how to get really clear about what’s wrong in your work life. I remember reading a book a couple of years ago by a guy called Jim Collins. This book was called “Good to Great”. It was about how to move your business from a place of good to a place of great, and a lot of what he spoke about in the book relates to work in general as well.
One of the things Jim said that really stuck out was the need to have a brutal respect for reality. I love that. I’ve held onto that thought ever since I first read it. Having a brutal sense of reality means getting real about the way things actually are. Don’t stick your head in the sand – face up to whatever is going on and then you’ll know how to deal with it.
Write down how things really are
This is what I want to encourage you to do today. I know you’re not happy at work, but hey, you’re here so you obviously want to do something about it. So let me offer you this piece of advice. Document the thoughts and feelings and ideas that are coming to you as we work through this process together.
If you haven’t got a journal yet, go out and buy one today. Make a start today. I want you to begin writing down what things are really like. Here are some questions you can use to help you become more realistic:
- What is this situation really like?
- How is it making me feel?
- What am I thinking when I wake up in the morning?
- How am I reacting during my day?
- What’s really getting on my nerves?
Really go for it – be honest and put down as much detail as you can. Get it out of you onto the paper or into your voice file if you prefer to speak about things rather than write about them. Just really get it out and be really clear and brutal about where you’re going.
Your location exercise
I like to call this process a location exercise. You see, transforming your work life is a lot like going on a journey. If you think about going on a car journey and you have a satellite navigation system in your car, the first thing you do is to type in where you’re going. Then a satellite in the sky locates where you are at that moment, so the satnav can tell you how to get from A to B.
It’s all about having a plan and getting the details clear about where you are right now in your work life. So spend some time doing that today. Put some time aside, maybe an hour or so, where you just sit with your journal and a pen and a cup of coffee and write down what’s really happening in your work life.
Now this is good for two reasons. Firstly you’ll create a record of where you are and where you’re going. As you start to move forward you can look back and see the progress you’re making. Secondly it’s good information to use so you can decide what action needs to be taken when you decide where you want to go.
Think about that satnav again. If you’re in London and you want to go to Manchester, you have to position yourself differently than if you’re in London and you want to go to Bristol. So you see when you begin to develop this brutal respect for reality and you become clear about your journey and your starting point, you can then begin to realise what it is you have to do to make the changes.
So get it all written down. Get it all out of your system. Be brutally honest and real and you’ll start to realise what comes next. Good luck!